Choosing the right 3D printer is difficult enough, but if you decide on one with an open filament system, then you have decisions to make on materials as well. There’s a lot of freedom in being able to choose whatever material you want, but there’s also an overwhelming element about it, because there are a lot of materials out there, and some are better than others when it comes to certain applications, so how do you know which one is right for you?
Simplify3D may be a software manufacturer – which released its Version 4.0 update last summer – but it knows filament, well enough to compile what it is calling “The Ultimate 3D Printing Materials Guide.” The guide provides detailed information on more than a dozen of the most commonly used materials in FFF 3D printing today, with pros and cons, hardware requirements, best practices, tips, and more. There’s also a comprehensive properties table that compares all of the materials side by side.
“We know that 3D printing involves a balance of hardware, software, and materials,” said Simplify3D CEO Clayton Webster. “We have addressed the hardware challenges by partnering with manufacturers all over the world so that Simplify3D can support over 400 different 3D printers, but we also want to provide resources to help our customers succeed with the wide array of new materials that are available. We are constantly testing the latest printers and filaments to make sure our software is optimized for each scenario, so we are excited to share our findings with the community.”
The Materials Guide is easy to use, with a grid of images displaying each filament. The user can filter out certain types of filament, using tags, based on his or her needs. To access the information compiled on a particular filament, just click on its image in the grid. Each filament page also contains a link to the properties table, which was exhaustively compiled, comparing 25 different properties or characteristics for each filament. Those properties include strength, stiffness, density, and other important factors; there is also a built-in comparison tool that you can use for side-by-side material comparison.
Extensive research went into the creation of the Ultimate 3D Printing Materials Guide; the Simplify3D team spent over a year testing and researching filaments. It’s not the first educational resource provided by the company; Simplify3D also published the Print Quality Troubleshooting Guide, which provides information on common 3D printing problems and their solutions. Put together, the Print Quality Troubleshooting Guide, the Ultimate 3D Printing Materials Guide, and the Filament Properties Guide are thorough resources for anyone who 3D prints, whether on a casual basis or on a professional level.
Filament is expensive, and no one wants to spend money on a spool only to find out, once they start 3D printing, that they have the wrong type. There are so many different factors that go into getting a successful print from a certain kind of filament, and it’s hard to sort through them all, but the Ultimate 3D Printing Materials Guide makes it a lot easier, so that you don’t have to experiment and hope.
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